Fox 8 Cleveland is reporting that Summit County city council has proposed an ordinance that would effectively ban county employees from using or possessing medical marijuana (or paraphernalia) while on the job. Under this proposed ordinance, employees with Ohio medical marijuana cards would still be allowed to use cannabis in their private life.
"We think that, as the county, we have chosen a reasonable path where we have set in place several guidelines to ensure the safety of the people we serve, the safety of our employees, and maintaining a drug-free workplace," council member at-large Elizabeth Walters told Fox 8.
This news probably won't come as too much of a shock for most people. Generally, cannabis is consumed via smoke, edible or vapor, and the resulting side effects can range from fairly mild to pretty intense, depending on the person and the type of dosage and chemical makeup of the cannabis.
Because the effect of reefer can be pretty intense, it could prove to be a liability for some employers, especially county employees -- some of which may be operating vehicles, using heavy tools or dangerous weapons, or working directly with citizens of Akron.
Even though common sense may feel pretty logical with this proposed ban, is this ordinance too short-sighted, and are the rights of patients being stepped on? We'll explore after the jump.
Is a ban on medical marijuana in the workplace necessary?
Though many cities have ordinances about certain prescription drugs in county workplaces, most are not as strict compared to marijuana ordinances. Rather, marijuana is being treated like alcohol. Most companies don't allow alcohol on the job because of the side effects of consumption. However, alcohol is not a recommended medicine. People use alcohol recreationally, not to treat specific ailments. As a result, marijuana's potential for abuse at work seems unlikely.
"It's fairly logical to assume most patients won't be bringing their medicine to work to get high," Ohio Marijuana Card President Connor Shore stated. "Ohio's medical marijuana patients are people looking for safer alternatives to prescription medications. Banning employees from using cannabis seems to be a move designed to disenfranchise medical marijuana patients more than anything else."
Cannabis is certainly a medicine that could be used at work with little consequence. Though Ohio medical marijuana delivery methods include dry flower for vaping, oils, edibles, tonics and tinctures, other delivery methods include gels, creams, patches, low dose edibles, or CBD-heavy cannabis products, many of which do not yield the 'high' typical with THC consumption.
Examples of patients who should be allowed to use cannabis at work
There are certainly plenty of reasons to consider a ban on medical cannabis consumption at work. And many companies will likely consider similar measures to the one Summit County's city council is proposing.
But there's an equal measure of logic to why some patients should be allowed to use cannabis while at the office. Below are just a few examples for Ohio employers to consider before issuing a blanket ban on medical marijuana in the workplace:
Cancer patients may use cannabis products like gels or creams in order to temper the stinging sensation of nephropathy. These creams can prove more effective than prescription medications, with less side effects.
Patients with pain that is either chronic and severe, or intractable, or patients with back or neck injuries, may use a patch to treat their pain. This can applied directly to the injured area, providing pointed relief in a specific zone of the body without getting the patient "high" off their medicine.
Those suffering from PTSD may use CBD drops, edibles or oils in order to calm their anxiety, or aide with sleep. Unlike THC, which features a more euphoric side effect, CBD has a relaxing effect on the body. As a result, low doses can prove wildly effective in treating anxiety, aggression, depression and other mood alterations associated with PTSD.
Those suffering from IBD, ALS, Crohn's Disease, Fibromyalgia or even Parkinson's Disease may use cannabis to stabilize their body, dull pain or control their internal organs from inflammation. Patches, creams and gels are each effective treatments that don't necessarily get a user high, nor do they hinder higher cognitive functioning in any notable way.
And these are just a few small examples of why cannabis consumption at the workplace should be allowed. There are 21 qualifying conditions in Ohio, and each condition could benefit from methods other than oil, vaping or edible consumption.
Because of these examples, an ordinance like Summit County's recent measure seems too reactionary to be beneficial, and ultimately it will deter patients from seeking safer alternatives to prescriptions medications and dangerous opioids.
The ordinance is certainly well-intentioned, but also not entirely thought out. It steps on a patients' rights to use their medicine in an effective manner. It also does not take into consideration the depth of cannabis products that can be used to treat various ailments. As such, it would be responsible for Summit County, and other companies considering a ban on medical marijuana, to educate themselves and propose a more measured policy that takes these factors into consideration.
If you are an Ohioan suffering from one of these 21 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana.
Click here to learn more about what Ohio Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at 1-866-457-5559 and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment